Archive for the 'Book Picked Me' Category

I Missed a Spin!

Tis truth to say that I joined the Classics Club mainly because I thought the SPIN idea to be just the coolest. But I missed the latest one and I am most heartbroken. Really, it’s not a big deal; there aren’t any “Classics Police” looking for my failure to participate, so I will just admit to being tardy and participate now.

[Check out this post from the official club website if I have only brought up more questions and you need answers. I intend to plow on as if you know what I am talking about.]

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Since I missed the kick off announcement but now already know the number that was chosen (the number is FIVE), I will just use the spin list that I created on the prior spin.

THUS, the _fifth_ book on that list is __(typing this before I actually go look at my list which is linked in the prior sentence)____and I intend to read that by October 23, 2015.

WELL, isn’t THIS interesting…

 

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The fifth book is Mansfield Park! Guess what audiobook I am 80% through already and hope to complete by the end of August?  YES!!  MANSFIELD PARK! 

Isn’t that crazy?! I swear I didn’t know before starting this post. Golly, do I amuse myself.

 

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Perhaps I should just move on and tackle the Classics Meme for August? The question is: “Have you made changes to your list since you first created it? If you added any new titles or removed some, why did you make those changes?”

Yes, yes I have. Now, I’ve only just joined in January of this year so I wasn’t expecting to alter my list so quickly but I am very much a mood-chooser when it comes to which books I read. And with participating in readalongs as they interest me and other challenges, I unabashedly give myself permission to stray from my initial 50. This blog is mine and I do with it what I damn well please, and that includes which books and when. I am a guilt-free blogger.

I have so far NOT kicked any books OFF my list but will only see which books haven’t been read by the time I do check off 50 qualified ‘classics’ in my tracking endeavors. Guess that puts me in the category of being loosey-goosey with that FIFTY. Whatever.

Here’s what I have read that wasn’t on the initial list:

The Winter’s Tale / Shakespeare – Jan 2015 • TO SATISFY a Classics Challenge category

√ The Making of a Marchioness / FHBurnette – Apr2015 • BECAUSE I OWN IT and forgot to put it on my initial 50 (smh)

The Talented Mr. Ripley /PHighsmith June2015 • BECAUSE I got the audiobook on a deal and it sounded good at the time of purchase

Atlas Shrugged / Ayn Rand July2015 • BECAUSE Ti had a readalong, I have always been curious (and I adore long audiobooks)

 

Assuming I finish Mansfield Park and Things Fall Apart very soon, I will have read 12 classics this year so far. I am thrilled to be ahead of schedule!

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Copyright © 2007-2015. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Guests on Earth

Thoughts goebyls Guests on Earth by Lee Smith, 2013, 328 pages

A couple of things. Where is everyone? Well, I am sure if anyone else is asking that and implying me, yep – I am sort of ‘Off the Grid” or UNPLUGGED at the moment, I guess, only because it is tough to get the good wifi on the devices best for post-writing/visiting/commenting while I “be” on vacation, so NEVERMIND.

And, I’m a wimp. I didn’t like this book. But I don’t know HOW to ‘be nice and not like a book’. Which makes it sound like I do know how to be NOT nice and NOT like a book and that’s not quite it.

I wanted to like this book.

This isn’t even a case of high expectations! It is the case of realizing that this author has many fans so she must have SOME competence, but I realize now that I have discovered her too late. Her early books might be good but she might as well have phoned this one in.

I am sad.

It might have gone somewhere, it might have had promise?

And against all the Go Set a Watchman chatter about having an editor with the golden ovaries to say, “Go rework this and bring it back to me and you might have something.”, I suggest someone on the Smith-Team might have suggested this for this book.

It is teased to be about Zelda aka wife to Great Gatsby author F. Scott Fitzgerald. There’s really not that much about her.

It has a lovely LOVELY setting in Asheville NC!  yippee – really, I think I liked the setting best of all.

It brings up too many minor characters that get lost.

Thought I teetered between 2 stars and 4, I am settling on 3 stars but it really disappointed me in story structure. I just don’t have the guts to rate it a 2 star. And I did like the first third or so.

She obviously did her research.

She knows how to string sentences together well.

Descriptive sentences were great.

I struggle with praising the character development.

I am not qualified nor have the write words in my critics-toolbox to say what is exactly so disappointing, but…

I was THRILLED for the first 30 pages! I thought, “Oh goodie, I feel this might be a SOMTHIN’ book!”

But it fell flat.

I truly almost didn’t read the last 30 pages. I was almost about to just drop and walk away.

Ugh.

I just didn’t get the point of it.

I dunno.

I’m just SAD.

BEST QUOTE?  p.85-“He might be sweet as pie, or he might take drunk and start sworping around.”

(Did I only just convince you to read it to find out if you agree?!  crazy, huh?)

The book cover will take you to goodreads where you can read all sorts of LOVE and DARN kind of reviews.

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Copyright © 2007-2015. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Heft

Thoughts heftbylm by Liz Moore, Blackstone Audio 2012, 11 hrs 44 min

Narrated by Kirby Heyborne and Keith Szarabajka

I really enjoyed this. I rated this five slices of lemon pie.

I have read some interesting reviews that mention the ambiguous ending and a disturbing date rape scene. I would like to discuss. If you have read this book, read on and chime in. If you haven’t yet, you can keep reading at your own peril.

Quote:  “… the whole place smelled like lemon and pie.”  –  in Chapter Two

We meet Arthur Opp who is a former professor of English who has not left his house in 10 years while eating and eating and eating himself into a weight estimated between 550 and 600 pounds. He has received contact from a former romantic interest; she was one of his students who had to quit school but became a pen pal who hadn’t corresponded in many years. Arthur decides that this contact should be pursued and makes strides to start ‘moving and improving’ if possible, and it was quite delightful to hear his fears about new acquaintances and situations that impact him on this ‘waking up’.

Another story line is told from the perspective of the son of Arthur’s former penpal/student/love interest. He’s a high school baseball jock hoping for a chance at the big leagues so he can avoid college. His mom is a mess, to put it bluntly.

Even at 80% when the reader KNOWS that these story lines MUST crash or converge or cross OR SOMETHING (all caps to demonstrate how passionately I was worried about this!), it was mind-boggling to speculate how this book would end!  When and how would these story lines tie together?

And thus the ambiguity, because… they almost don’t, not really. But I liked it. I liked it very much, even after a few days after listening to the last word and thinking about it. Even after I listened to that last word and said out loud, “Is that IT?!”

I had feared this would be an ugly cry book. I did cry (gently) at about 95% through or so — When Arthur admits that you don’t get to pick your family and sometimes families suck. So sometimes you have to pick your own substitute family.

    ♦

Now. The date rape. It didn’t bother me. I mean, sure, it BOTHERS me, and bother is too soft a word for this crime. It’s wrong, it’s scary and it’s wrong-&-scary. I get it. But this scene in this book was realistic and I wasn’t put in that place of objectively confronting my feelings on how the scene played out. (And truthfully, since this was audio, I swear I thought he stopped – maybe in my mind, he did and even though he admits that he sensed her being uncomfortable and he didn’t care, I thought I heard in the telling that he eventually DID stop. But I’m not going to go try and find that place in the audiobook and listen again. I’ll keep my version. Maybe he stopped not out of a conscience to suddenly respect the girl, so that is problematic, true.

I did think that he protested too much to his girlfriend later (thus, only confirming my version of the event, actually) but I want to say to those reviewers on goodreads who had a problem with the date rape scene being too casual and not dealt with in an appropriately severe manner consequentially to the perp, I GET IT.

But I don’t think it shows the author of being lackadaisical to the issue. I think she presented it just like it might happen. Life sucks. Books don’t always get to be the platform for a moral and a lesson. They get to be messy.

This book had charm and grit and attempts to find the light when all you can see is the dark. You don’t have to like the characters; yes, they were flawed. They were real.

I recommend this book. I recommend the audio.

I will read more by this author.

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Copyright © 2007-2015. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea

Thoughts aytvimcbych Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea by Chelsea Handler, Gallery Books 2008, 264 pages

FIRST Sentence: I was nine years old and walking myself to school one morning when I heard the unfamiliar sound of a prepubescent boy calling my name.

TRUTH: Her first essay in this collection was my favorite, Blacklisted. About her amazing ability to embellish and think grandiose stories on a dime, Chelsea demonstrates her ability to talk and cajole and invent wild entertaining tales.

It went downhill after this.

I just got bored with her inane over-the-top depravity.

DEPRAVITY: quality of demonstrating an evil and immoral character.

So maybe, evil is a bit strong and misleading. I really wouldn’t call her evil – it’s just all sex and raunchy and well, . . . boring.

Maybe ‘debauched’ is a better word?

DEBAUCHED: to lead away from virtue* or excellence.

Yea, whatever.

I admit. I’ve only seen her show a few times. I thought she was funny. This book wasn’t that funny. Occasionally, a situation was chuckle-worthy but overall, if I chose to dwell on such concepts like ‘regret’, I could easily regret the time I spent with this book.

By the way, a few antonyms for DEBAUCHED are elevate, ennoble and uplift. I need to spend more time with these kinds of words.

Have a nice day!

Enjoy these flowers from my garden: FullSizeRender

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* I am in the THICK (~86%) of the ‘speech’ that is looooong in Atlas Shrugged. Might have something to do with my mind-boggling contemplations of virtue and morality, at the moment.

Copyright © 2007-2015. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Big Little Lies

Thoughts bllbylm Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty, Amy Einhorn Books / Penguin Group 2014, 460 pages

WHY I read this now:  Cuz I saw that Lisa of Lit & Life was reading it so it might be considered a case of a stalking-readalong. ha! I needed something different and fun to contrast while reading Atlas Shrugged.

FIRST Sentence/s: “That doesn’t sound like a school trivia night,” said Mrs. Patty Ponder to Marie Antoinette. “That sounds like a riot.”

What’s it ABOUT: Parents who meet at Kindergarten Orientation end up choosing sides over a bullying issue that ends up with someone being MURDERED!!  We know at the start that someone dies, but we don’t know who.

What’s GOOD: Everything? Funny and insightful balanced with serious stuff. Moriarity has the best characters and they say the darndest things. The plot placing with the slow reveal is excellent. I never quite had a grasp on who I could trust – it was always a bit unsettling and yet had many laughable moments. All the unknowns get settled and though murder doesn’t suggest a happy ending exactly, this one was satisfying.

What’s NOT so good: I can’t think of a thing. Having read Moriarty’s The Husband’s Secret earlier this year, I can confidently say that this one is even better.

FINAL Thoughts: Do not dismiss this as chick lit. The tendency might be to think this is light whodunnit — chick lit? Pretty cover? I think this does fit the women’s fiction category. Oh bother. WHO CARES? Why the genrefication crap? Anyway — Moriarty tackles heavy stuff in this without ever being heavy-handed. I LOVE books that do the balance well.

Make me laugh, be snarky & smart, tackle something important. Add a few feisty princesses and BINGO.

Other REVIEWs:

Michelle at That’s What She Read says, “Ms. Moriarty deftly combines the serious with the frivolous to make her story enjoyable without losing the impact of her key messages.”

Melissa at Avid Reader’s Musings concludes, “The author makes the characters come alive. She can deal with dark subject matter without making the whole book feel dark.”

Write Meg! gives it a 4.5 out of 5: “This is contemporary, domestic fiction that shimmers and shines; it’s engrossing, well-written, effortless to read. “

RATING: Five slices of pie. Five slices of Pink Lemonade Vanilla Pie with Salty Potato Chip Crust. Oh. Yea.

Breyers Summer Spring recipe shoot click on the pretty picture above to go to the recipe…

 

Did I convince you to try this? Anyone want me to send my copy? I will have a drawing if more than one of you wants it.

 

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Copyright © 2007-2015. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Lost Lake

Thoughts llbysaa Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen, St. Martens Press 2014, 294 pages

I am seriously behind in reading the wonderful books by this lovely author! How did I allow to this happen!?

So, there is just something about an SAA book that I know I will love and I always do. Nothing out of place, always gives me all the feels, and I can be safe in knowing that my time inside the pages of these books will be wonderful.

There. I don’t really need to say any more.

If you don’t know of Ms. Allen (or Ms. Addison Allen – not sure if I need that middle name or not? Feel free to correct me to which form is best.) IF you don’t know of this author, click on the book cover and see what the goodreads folk have to say. Or do your own research or jump in and try one.

Have a lovely day.

Read for book club – meeting next week.

pieratingsmlRating:  Five slices of vanilla pie.

p.228 – “Eby laughed before she could stop herself. It was so pie-in-the-sky, like some great scheme a child would make up.”

p.280 – “Doctors rarely traveled to the End of the World, because payment was never a given, not even in the form of vanilla pie or a burlap bag of walnuts.”

Have you had vanilla pie? Do you have a recipe to recommend? I don’t think I’ve attempted a vanilla pie, I MUST try one, I must! (I suppose it is really just a banana cream without the bananas…)

Ken Haedrich has a Vanilla Cream Pie in his PIE book… piebook

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Copyright © 2007-2015. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Bad Feminist

Thoughts bfbyrg Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay, Harper 2014, 320 pages

I often feel like a bad feminist. I’m not doing it right. My example is piss poor. I often feel unworthy to declare my feminist label.

Which is why this book is fabulous. No one can be the ultimate perfect feminist!

I know many Christians who certainly aren’t perfect and yet have no doubts to claim being Christian. It really is almost the second line of the ‘faith profession’ if you think about it. “I have sinned; forgive me.” and wa la! GRACE. And not to say this excuses bad behavior, I know. This post isn’t to defend my Christianity (and I am one), the point is that I should NOT be embarrassed to stand up and say,

“Yes, I’m a feminist.”

And I usually do, but…

I REALLY enjoyed Gay’s collection of essays on her life and her thoughts, her complications and her contradictions. Her courage to say these things loudly and proudly.

This book made me think about a lot of things. Maybe ALL of the things. I didn’t always agree but I appreciate the new viewpoints on the issues. I learned a few words, I learned much more about Scrabble than I knew I needed to know, I was introduced to many cool sounding books* that have made it to my tbr, and thus,

FIVE SLICES of PIE.

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* Kate Zembrano’s Green Girl or Heroines, anyone?

Copyright © 2007-2015. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

The Dorothy Parker Portable Library

Thoughts tvplbydp Viking Press 1963 (orig 1926-1944), 544 pages

“A One-Volume Edition of Her Stories & Poems including Here Lies: Laments for the Living, After Such Pleasures; Not so Deep as a Well: Enough Rope, Sunset Gun, Death & Taxes; and 5 Stories Now First Published in Book Form”

tpdpaudio Blackstone Audio 2007, Edited by Marion Meade/Narrated by Lorna Raver, 13 hrs 22 min

 

LOVED.

LOVED THIS SO MUCH.

and yet, I wonder if best in smaller doses which means that I want somebody to buy me this for Christmas so I always have it on hand when I need.

I didn’t just devour this collection, I rolled in it like a dog rolls in mud. I read it higgledy-piggledy, jumping around as I do with short story collections that aren’t themed, and I listened to the audiobook. I read some and then I listened some. I mostly listened to the poetry rather than read and many of the short stories I read and then listened immediately to experience it again.

YES. Dorothy is cleverly snarky and delivers excellent character ‘voice’. And much is NOT flattering. Just the kind of smart bitch that can deliver an insult without the insulted person realizing it because they just don’t get it. GOOD STUFF.

She really sees a situation, every nuance, every discrepancy, all the hypocrisy. Though delightfully funny, it has poison-laced sadness, too.

Highly recommended.

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2015. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

 

The Boston Girl

The Boston Girl tbgbyad by Anita Diamant, Scribner 2014, 320 pages

I purchased this from an independent bookseller in Newport RI. I promptly went back to the boat and devoured this. I then passed it on to a friend who I’m sure will only think it ‘meh’. But I could be wrong. We never like the same books…

I would rate it 3.5 stars but am boosting or rounding up to 4 because there are some awesome pie mentions!

What’s it ABOUT: A Jewish woman, Addie Baum, reminisces her childhood and life beyond in a retelling to her granddaughter. It has sad and scary moments and a few laughs;  overall she has found Love and has lived a wonderful life.

I’m not really sure it has much plot. (Which is why I think my friend won’t like it.)

It is warm and uplifting and reminds me to cherish my friendships.

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Copyright © 2007-2015. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessey

Thoughts tlsoqhbyrja The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessey by Rachel Joyce, Random House Audio 2014 (Bond Street Books 2014), 10 hours 36 minutes, Narration by Celia Imrie

Publisher’s blurb:  In this poignant parallel story to Harold’s saga, acclaimed author Rachel Joyce brings Queenie Hennessy’s voice into sharp focus. Setting pen to paper, Queenie makes a journey of her own, a journey that is even bigger than Harold’s. One word after another, she promises to confess long-buried truths–about her modest childhood, her studies at Oxford, the heartbreak that brought her to Kingsbridge and to loving Harold, her friendship with his son, the solace she has found in a garden by the sea.  

What’s it ABOUT:  Read the bit above.

Why did I read this:  BECAUSE I LOVED HAROLD FRY. Can’t help it. I did.

What’s the big deal:  You all know that book that sends some one over the-top enthusiastic for a lovely lovely charming deep made-me-cry book and OH SO CHARMING!  (I think I just like charming)  YOU BECOME WARY. Anyway, and then you read that same book and it’s GOOD, it’s maybe better than OK; but it didn’t light the pilot light of your gas stove, yaknowwhatImean, and you wonder what was wrong. Was it mood?  Was it a different odd energy connection?

I’m just going to say it but I think Rachel Joyce is now my new favorite author. Certainly one of my top 3 fiction writers and I now I can’t decide if I should rush out to buy/read her Perfect novel or wait. Do I wait?  Will the third-book-jinx strike?!  I seem to have a thing about the third book being disappointing.

And I do think it is because I’m so wrapped up expecting fireworks of amazement that I miss the comfortable hmmm-this-is-GOOD in a GOOD solid way?

I know that Harold Fry was a head-scratcher for some of my friends (and regular people on goodreads, yikes) and I know that Ti and I usually do NOT agree on books and we are both adoring fans of Harold. So… I don’t even know what that means.

OK. Here’s what it means.

I doesn’t matter. Sometimes a books is AMAZING and sometimes it is not but I love ALL of it. I even love my 2 star reads (because they make me feel smart?)

We don’t have to agree and we don’t have to apologize or feel bad for any reading experience, ever.

I do love my 2-star reads. [GOODREADS SAYS TWO STARs MEANs “It’s OK.”] I have only read one or two seriously disappointing books (one star or less) IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. Those incredibly bad but with arrogant authors that can’t be separated from any of their so-called prose; that made me all stabby and want to ban said author from any publishing world.

And I think that is a darn fine track record.

The books I read are not to impress you. They are to impress me. and IMPRESS doesn’t mean here TO THINK WELL OF, but to make some kind of IMPRESSION ON. Three star books are extremely valuable to me; they temper, they allow me to be super dooper impressed when the chemistry and stars align for the OMG-awesome books.

If Harold Fry didn’t wow your socks off, then I doubt you need to read Queenie’s journey. But if you love the deep and sad and the happy and touching and want to see if this delivers? Read Miss Queenie’s version (but read Harold first, due to spoilers) and I dare you not to cry. Then call me when you are done and we can cry together. Joy is not a feeling to be trifled with.

I love books that touch me like this one did. And I wasn’t sure it was going to until the end. (much like Harold’s book, actually). And yet. I know that there are more books for me to experience which just might top!  Isn’t that tremendously exciting? I’m totally showing off my book-geekness, I know…

AND. Oh do I dare say this? I did find flaws with this book. I did have some issues but they just paled compared the goodness I saw and felt.

Quotes:

“I realized that I had looked for these landmarks instead of saying goodbye. But sometimes, you don’t say the word because you think the thing is ongoing; when actually, it is already over.”

“They were a delicious bunch. But always forgetting the sensible things like food and daylight and only remembering the more intoxicating things like love and gin.”

“The sorrow is not gone, it just no longer hurts as much.”

The narration is wonderful.

Rating: Five slices of British Meat Pie.

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Copyright © 2007-2015. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

I prefer pi.

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